Tuesday, June 15, 2010


While shopping in my favorite place today (Whole Foods bulk section) I found yet another unusual grain:  Amaranth.  According to the label at the store, while it is revered elsewhere in the world, its usually considered a weed here in the states and nobody likes it.  The grain itself looks like an even smaller version of quinoa. And, according to multiple sources, one serving has anywhere from 20-80% of your daily iron and a third of your daily calcium.  Awesome.

When I got home, I began searching for some delicious recipes to make with my new mystery grain.  I found two:  Amaranth tabbouleh and a treat from mexico called "Alegria".  Its a "candy" similar to rice krispy treats, made with honey, butter, dried fruits, and nuts.  Zach is leaving for Houston tomorrow, so I figured he could take these with him.

While the tabbouleh was a fairly standard recipe(and frickin' delicious), making the Alegria was a unique experience.  First you have to pop the Amaranth.  It pops fairly easily, just like tiny, tiny popcorn but you have to be extremely careful not to burn it.  Three seconds can be the difference between toasty popped amaranth and a pan of burned crap.

here are the popped amaranths.  They smell and taste like 
classic puffed wheat cereal, just smaller.

While the recipe called for half corn syrup or molasses and half  honey, I didn't have any of the first two so I used all honey.  This made the bars softer than they should have been, but not too bad.  I cut some up and wrapped them in plastic wrap for Zach's journey.  

Here are the recipes mentioned in the post and some Amaranth resources:
Tabouli  I skipped the whole lettuce leaf thing.  The vitamin C from the lemon juice will help you absorb all that Iron!


  1. I have amaranth in my pantry. I never cooked them on their own before. I usually added them to my bread recipe.

    That Alegria treat sounds good :-)

  2. oh man is it ever! I would definitely not use all honey next time...the honey I have is really strong and kinda stinky but despite that it was STILL good.

  3. you can substitute corn syrup with just homemade syrup made of 1 1/4 cup white sugar plus 1/3 cup water. heat them up until all the sugars are diluted. one thing about this homemade syrup that I don't like compared to corn syrup is that it crystallizes within a day. corn syrup doesn't crystallize at all even after months in the pantry.